Boy found wandering around daycare parking lot alone
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The parents of a 4-year-old boy are demanding accountability from a South Florida daycare after their son was found wandering around the facility's parking lot alone.
"Obviously someone wasn't doing their job right, and because of that my son had to go through this trauma," said Ramon Ramirez, the father of William Ramirez, a student who attends Little Rainbow Academy, a child care facility located on 101 SE 11th Ave. in Pompano Beach.
Broward Sheriff's Office detectives said William was left alone for hours inside a Little Rainbow van Monday night. "I fell asleep in the van," said William. Investigators said William woke up around 7 p.m. to discover he was all alone.
"I take my seat belt off, and I go outside," said William.
Investigators said the boy first tried to open the front doors of the academy, but when he realized they were locked, he ran towards a woman who was out on an evening walk with her daughter.
The Good Samaritan spotted the boy. "I see the little boy running from the door," said Marlene Harden. "I mean, you could see the frightness on his face. So he comes and grabs me like this," she added, pointing to her legs.
"I said, 'What's wrong?' He said, 'Where's my mommy?'" Harden continued. "I said, 'Your mommy's not here?' and [he said], 'No,' and I said, 'Where's your Mommy? Who are you here with?'"
Harden then asked William where he had been. "He said, 'In the van,'" she said. "I said, 'What van?' So he pointed to the van, and I said, 'Take me to the van.'"
Harden then realized William was by himself without adult supervision. "So I'm like, 'There ain't nobody there?' and he said, 'No, they're gone. They left me,'" she said. "So I went to the door, tried to open it. Nothing. I just immediately called 911. I'm like, 'Oh my God, someone just left this child in this van.'"
William and his mother were reunited shortly thereafter. "Mommy just grabbed him and went, 'Come here, baby,'" said Destiny Romero, his mother. "I'm like, mad, because they had to, like, head count, they had to check."
A lawyer for the Pompano Beach School District did not respond to 7News' request to comment on the incident. On Tuesday, however, teachers were conducting a careful head count as children were being loaded into Little River Academy vans.
BSO detectives are conducting an investigation into how William was left alone for so many hours after school let out.
Ramirez said he wants answers from school officials. "You hear about it on the news, about kids being left and dying, in most cases, and you would think that schools had better procedures, doing head counts and things like that," he said.
William's father said he's grateful to Harden for looking out for her son. "I really thank her more than anything," he said.
William's parents said they have hired an attorney and are exploring their legal options. They indicated they want local schools to take a close look at their policies to make sure what their son endured does not happen again.
"I just thank God that I was the one that found him," said Harden. "God placed me here to find him, to make sure that he's OK."
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